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Subconscious 
{Religion 



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Subconscious 

Religion 



Does God Answer Christians Only? 

Conflicting Prayers 

Subconscious Religion 

Praying for Visions of Heaven 

Great Prayers 

Use of the Bible in Prayer 

Conclusions 



By 
RUSSELL H. CONWELL 



VOLUME 10 



NATIONAL 
EXTENSION UNIVERSITY 

597 Fifth Avenue, New York 



Effective Prayer 



Copyright, IQ2I, by Harper & Brothers 
Printed in the United States of America 



<3)oes Qod Answer 
Christians Only? 



I 



Chapter I 
Does God Answer Christians Only? 

WHAT might be the consensus of 
opinion found in a digest of all 
the testimonies of mankind cannot be sur- 
mised, but it did not appear that God was 
"a respecter of persons " through those years 
of prayer at the Baptist Temple. The pre- 
vailing belief, however, was that God was 
more willing to answer the sincere disciple 
than he was to heed the requests of a great 
sinner. But the fact was also evident that 
God does answer the just and the unjust. 
The assertion of the blind man before the 
Pharisees that "God heareth not sinners" 
was evidently a quotation from the Phari- 
sees' creed and not a gospel precept. As all 
have sinned and come short of the glory of 
God, no one would be heard if God would 
not hear sinners. Jesus was more inclined 
to heed the requests of John and Peter than 



154 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

he was to listen to the requests of the 
sacrilegious Sadducee. But a repentant 
Sadducee would not be neglected, and the 
fact is apparent that there is a clear dis- 
tinction between the influence with God of a 
righteous man and the influence of a wicked 
or a frightened sinner. 

Here are a few of the testimonies which 
have a bearing on this important subject. 
One hardened sinner was so convicted of his 
completely lost condition that he spent 
the night in agony, calling on God for for- 
giveness. He was determined to fight the 
battle alone, but his strength failed and he 
was certain that he was condemned irrevo- 
cably to eternal punishment. His prayer 
availed him nothing. When, at last, he 
opened his heart to a faithful Christian 
friend, that friend's prayer was heard in- 
stantaneously, and the seeker knew by an 
instinct axiomatic that he was received by 
the Lord. 

There is a general belief that God does 
hear the pure Christian more readily than 



ARE ONLY CHRISTIANS ANSWERED? 155 

he does the vile reprobate. That belief is 
founded in the moral laws universally 
recognized in human relations. There may 
also be a semiscientific reason. [The soul 
which is in tune with the Infinite can 
more effectively detect and understand the 
"sound waves" from the spirit world than 
the, soul which is out of tune with God? In 
the mass of the correspondence about which 
this book is written there are strong testi- 
monies to the necessity and attainableness 
of a practical harmony with the Spirit of 
God. One man who has been long a 
teacher of psychology wrote that he had 
made a deliberate test of the matter, and a 
condensed report of his experience is here 
given. He sought "to place his soul in 
communion with God." He desired that 
state of spiritual harmony with the divine 
character which would make him sensitive 
to every spiritually divine impression. 
Hence, he prepared himself in this way: 
he locked himself in his room and gave him- 
self up to the serious business of getting into 



156 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

communication with God. He began to 
count his sins of commission and earnestly 
asking forgiveness; he promised the Lord 
that he would guard himself against them 
evermore. He then tried to comprehend the 
awful list of sins of omission which for a 
while made him hopeless of God's favor. 
But in deep and prayerful meditation, 
thinking long on the great mercy of God 
and of the propitiation Christ had given, he 
felt his soul slowly emerge from the slough of 
despond. Suddenly a strange confidence 
took possession of his soul and a feeling of 
glad triumph overcame all doubt of his 
forgiveness. The assurance that he was 
getting into harmony with the Spirit of 
God became complete. He threw him- 
self across his bed and "let go of himself, " 
making an absolute surrender to the spirit- 
ual impressions. 

Into such a state the apostles and prophets 
must have entered to feel the spiritual im- 
pulses and see the visions which they re- 
corded. It as an exaltation of the whole 



ARE ONLY CHRISTIANS ANSWERED? 157 

being — a temporarily superhuman experi- 
ence which may be the state of the soul when 
released from the body. The joy of that 
hour of oneness with God cannot be de- 
scribed to one who has not known it. It is 
higher, purer, more real than other feelings. 
It is so unlike any other experience on earth. 
" The soul is lost in God." The worshiper is 
outside and above himself. Life gleams as 
a cloud glows in some heavenly morning. 
Disease, pain, human limitations, care, or 
anxiety is nonexistent. A pure peace which 
passeth all understanding permeates the 
whole being. Underneath are the ever- 
lasting arms; over him is the spirit face of 
Christ. But why should he try to convey 
an idea of that growing answer to his 
prayer? He knows he is with his Lord. 
But the less he tries to tell his experience 
the more confidence his unbelieving friends 
will have in his sanity. That such harmony 
with the divine is subject to certain laws is 
seen in the fact that such elevation of soul 
is gained only by a full compliance with 



158 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

certain conditions. Some of these condi- 
tions are found by experience to be those 
which are laid down in the Scriptures. The 
seeker must force out of his heart all malice, 
jealousy, hate, selfishness, covetousness, un- 
belief, aod give himself up to the opposite 
feelings. We must go over wholly to pure 
intentions, holy aspirations, truth-living, 
kindness, forgiveness, love for all, inflexible 
adherence to the right, and all in all har- 
monizing with the divine disposition. Pure 
holiness must be sought, without which no 
man can please God. All those who give 
themselves over to such a state of surrender 
to God have the full assurance of faith which 
is promised to those who love God with all 
their hearts and with all their minds. 

Such servants of God can offer prayer 
which avail much more than the frightened 
call of the worldly minded, egotistic, and 
selfish enemy of good people and good 
principles. God loves all men with an ever- 
lasting affection. But the kind of intensity 
of his affection for the saint and the trans- 



ARE ONLY CHRISTIANS ANSWERED? 159 

gressor is quite different. Christ loved the 
priest and the Levite in a true sense, but he 
loved the Good Samaritan more. He can 
love and care for his own without encourag- 
ing evil. He could not be just and show no 
partiality for those who obey him fully. 
He never fails to hear the cry of any con- 
trite heart, but even among the disciples 
John was especially beloved. 



10-2 



Conflicting 
Prayers 



II 



Chapter II 
Conflicting Prayers 

THIS chapter leads into the wilderness. 
Just beyond it is the insane asylum. 
The most bewildering, confusing, and dan- 
gerous region is the morass of conflicting 
prayers. No human theory concerning 
them is even helpful. The labyrinth is ab- 
solutely trackless to the human mind when 
once the worshiper becomes entangled 
therein. So we will not attempt to explain 
any of the even unthinkable intricacies of 
its strange region. Nowhere in the Bible 
does the Lord answer the questions which 
millions have asked about it. Two persons, 
equally sincere, pray for success in a matter 
where the victory of one must be the defeat 
of the other. Nations at war pray hard and 
long for victory, and not even God can 
answer both. Something must be taken 
from one to give to another, while the one in 



162 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

possession is praying that he may keep it. 
One's loss is another's gain. The employer 
prays for a profit on his business, and the 
laborer prays for higher wages. The white 
man and the colored man prays for his own 
tribe. The Samaritan and Jew, worshiping 
the same God and having the same family 
inheritance, believe it is a duty to hate each 
other, and each calls for God's curses on the 
other. Many an honest investigator has 
entered this region of doubt and mystery 
and managed to back out while still in his 
right mind. But he has returned the worse 
for the experience. All sorts of foolish 
speculations have been given creedal ex- 
pression until men have declared, with 
strange assurance, that man cannot trust 
his reason or his conscience in any matter. 
They have tried to prove that the laws of 
nature are inflexible and that prayer cannot 
have any influence whatever in current 
events. Gifted men and women of culture 
and high purpose have convinced themselves 
that there is no evil, that men never sin, that 



CONFLICTING PRAYERS 168 

the Bible theories concerning prayer are 
fanciful and too miraculous to be possible. 
"Too much study hath made thee mad," 
said the practical Roman to the Apostle 
Paul. The old Roman had probably seen 
so many religions that he had no faith in 
any. The religious maniacs are those men 
who have broken down their brains by 
laborious study over these insoluble prob- 
lems. Therefore, while no one should dis- 
courage reasonable research anywhere, and 
while it is not sacrilegious or foolish to think 
on these things, it does seem best to admit 
that to the most faithful Christian there are 
unsearchable things of God which he cannot 
sanely hope to understand in this life. 
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, saith the 
Lord. For as the heavens are higher than 
the earth, so are my ways higher than your 
ways, and my thoughts higher than your 
fhoughts." We cannot expect to achieve a 
knowledge as great and extensive as that of 
the Creator, and must be content with our 



164 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

reasonable limitations. "What I do ye 
know not now, but ye shall know hereafter." 
Satisfied, then, with the promise of that fu- 
ture full revelation we should study all that 
Providence places before us for investiga- 
tion and never let go of what we are sure we 
do know. We will distinguish, as clearly as 
possible, between our imagination and our 
knowledge, and with a level head and our 
feet on solid ground we will live by a faith 
that is reasonable and never become blindly 
reckless. 

The lightning struck a tree near a reigh- 
bor's residence last week. He knows that 
to be a hard fact. He does not know much 
about the electric currents in the atmos- 
phere, neither does the most experienced 
scientist; but the neighbor knows that the 
lightning did splinter that tree. From that 
fact he entertains a faith in a possible return 
of that event and by faith he puts up a 
lightning rod on his barn. 

The observer notices that sin brings its 
own punishment in many cases, and he has 



CONFLICTING PRAYERS 165 

faith that such will be the universal expe- 
rience of the future. So he keeps his soul 
insured by safe and sane investment in 
righteousness. Every sane man knows that 
we must at all times walk largely by faith. 
Faith is a constituent part of the natural 
human constitution. The degree of faith 
determines the character of the individual. 
Faith, like water, seeks its level. But the 
greater its safe elevation, the greater its 
power. Faith must grow reasonably, like a 
grain of mustard seed. It also develops 
mysteriously by natural increase until the 
fowls of the air nest in its branches and its 
growing root will cleave off the side of the 
mountain. The patriot, earnestly seeking 
victory, lets no possible agency pass unused 
to overcome the enemy. When he has pre- 
pared fully and laboriously for the battle 
he will then pray for the help which God 
may give him. Even should he strongly 
doubt that the Great Power moving on 
events beyond his knowledge can or will 
hear him, yet he will not fail to pray. Any 



166 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

man who calls on the Christian's God will 
not ask him to aid an unholy cause. A 
murderer seeking an opportunity to kill 
will not call on God for aid. The thief ever 
fears some providential interference with 
his plans. The Christian ever hopes for 
God's aid, and asks for it because his aim is 
a godly one. 

Herein is found the safe position for the 
believer to take. We can pray for the 
heathen, although they do pray against their 
own good. We can pray for victory in some 
holy war, because the enemy are praying 
really against their own good. Because 
their cause is unrighteous, their victory 
would be a great loss to them. Hence, even 
the great prayers which sublimely petition 
for the nations, and which include the whole 
world in their range of vision, are consistent 
only when man realizes his weakness and 
his ignorance, and adds to every prayer the 
reservation, "nevertheless, not my will but 
thine be done." 

He is the wisest servant of God who can 



CONFLICTING PRAYERS 167 

pray from the camp that he may conquer if 
his cause be really just. The preacher who 
enters his pulpit with an almost agoniz- 
ing prayer that God would aid him in his 
presentation of the Christ to men must ever 
ask that God will turn aside any arrow which 
would do harm to the cause. In his igno- 
rance or weakness he may mistake the 
Gospel message, or may not present the 
whole truth, and he must ever ask that, 
whether he gain or lose in the esteem of 
his congregation, the truth shall always 
prevail. Christian nations are often wrong 
in their diplomacy or in their wars, as they 
discover after a while. The Lord, therefore, 
gave them that for which they would have 
asked had their hearts been right with God 
and their intentions been Christlike toward 
men. 

Sometime we shall understand. But now 
the seeming inconsistency of asking the 
Lord to aid his own cause, or praying that 
Christ may soon come into his own king- 
dom, is ever a stumbling block to the doubt- 
12 



168 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

ful ones. If the Lord has all power and has 
a sincere desire to make the world good, 
why does he not do it by one sweep of his 
hand or by one magic word? What is the 
reason for his commandment to pray to 
him and to ask him to do that which he 
wishes to do and can do himself? All these 
questions lead into the wilderness. We do 
not know. We cannot suggest any hy- 
pothesis which would make the sovereignty 
of God and the free will of man reconcilable. 
Man's mind is so constructed that it is im- 
possible to believe that the Creator controls 
all things and arranges the details of even 
our thoughts and yet leaves man free to 
choose to defeat the Lord by his own 
thoughts and actions. It is impossible fully 
to believe that man can voluntarily do evil 
without in some way interfering with the 
designs and power of God. If God under- 
takes to save the world, and "would not 
that any should perish,' ' but that all should 
come unto him and live, and yet sinful man 
can defeat or hinder the accomplishment of 



CONFLICTING PRAYERS 169 

his purpose, then the thinker must conclude 
that God is not supreme. Yet when we 
keep our minds within their reasonable 
limits and fall back on our common sense 
we must believe that God is all-powerful 
and also that man is free to be sinful. The 
facts are actual facts, although we cannot 
reconcile them. There is but little we frail 
mortals can understand about such matters. 
Let us, therefore, carefully hold to the facts 
which we can comprehend, and never as- 
sume that things which are, surely are not, 
or that things which are not, most surely are. 
There was a bowlder in the highway yester- 
day. We don't know how it came to be 
there. We know it should not be there. 
But there it is, and he would be idiotic who 
tried to go on as if the stone were not there. 
Behold ! there is set before every man good 
and evil. " Choose good that thou and thy 
seed may live." We know that in a thou- 
sand matters we can choose the good or 
choose the evil. We see also that liberty is 
limited by great laws and there are a 



170 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

myriad of things a man cannot possibly do 
and about which he has no choice. When 
a man reaches those limitations his respon- 
sibility for choosing ceases. 

With these simple facts the teaching of 
the Bible is fully in accord. The necessity 
for sustenance and protection beyond our 
ability to supply is ever a great apparent 
fact. The recognition of that fact leads the 
thoughtful man to prayer. Let us, there- 
fore, have a care not to venture too far into 
the wilderness of the seeming theological 
inconsistencies. That God does answer 
men and women, thousands can testify. 
They have tried it fully. They cannot ex- 
plain why God thus works out his com- 
plicated schemes, but they know that he 
does work in that way. It is established 
fact. The Great Teacher and Saviour also 
prayed. That is enough. 



Subconscious 
{Religion 



III 



Chapter III 
Subconscious Religion 

IN Leipzig, Germany, in 1866 there* stood 
an old three-story mansion, used as a 
manufactory of mechanical toys. An Amer- 
ican student attending the university was 
invited to visit the showrooms in the upper 
story and became intently interested in the 
surprising exhibition of inventive genius. 
As the visitor descended to the second and 
first floors he visited the rooms where ma- 
chinery of many kinds was turning out 
various parts of the toys. But when he 
ventured to descend to the cellar to look 
at the power plant he found "No admis- 
sion" on every door. But he was more dis- 
appointed when he was told that the w< de- 
signing room," where the toys were in- 
vented and the drawings made, was in the 
subcellar. In order to preserve their pat- 
ents and their secret processes, even the 

10—3 



172 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

workmen on the upper floors were forbidden 
ever to look into the subcellar. 

That illustrative fact came forcibly to 
mind when meditating long over a letter 
written by a praying student and author 
who said that he felt sure that the only 
direct passage between the human soul and 
the world spirits is through the subconscious 
mind. From that subcellar of the soul come 
ideas, impulses, and suggestions which most 
largely influence our actions. But we are 
forbidden to enter that department to 
examine the plans or listen to the wireless 
dispatches from the spirit world so con- 
tinuously received there. "No admission" 
is posted on every door to the subcellar 
designing room of the human soul. We get 
the blue prints of new plans, or read sug- 
gestions for new or improved work sent up 
to our brains. But who makes them we do 
not know. In the impenetrable regions of 
our mental and spiritual nature are formu- 
lated many ideas and moral laws which we 
must blindly obey. A man is what he 



SUBCONSCIOUS RELIGION 173 

thinks, and the larger portion of his thinking 
is originated or molded in his subconscious 
self. That is evidently the meaning of the 
reference by Peter to the "hidden man of the 
heart/ ' It is amazing to the careful student 
of our mental constitution to find out how 
meager is the part of our thinking which 
originates in the suggestions of our five 
senses. 

From the Grecian and German philoso- 
phers some psychologists derived the hy- 
pothesis that the subconscious self is only the 
aggregation of all the faint or half-formed 
ideas which are not strong enough to force 
themselves up into full recognition by the 
brain. Consciousness includes only those 
thoughts which the brain accepts and uses 
in positive action. That theory seems to be : 
in a measure, true. There are faint sug- 
gestions and half-formed motives of which 
we catch glimpses and which never seem to 
be fully developed. Also the natural in- 
stincts of our animal nature still continue 
and persist in our higher station in the crea- 



174 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

tive order. It can be noted by anyone that 
perhaps not one in a thousand of our mus- 
cular contractions or of our decided actions 
is consciously dictated by our will. The 
human race is seemingly, in a large measure, 
a collection of automatons. We are gener- 
ally moved about by powers and mecha- 
nisms beyond our comprehension and are 
unconsciously working out designs in the 
making of which we have no consciously 
important part. 

It is difficult to write clearly on such a 
subtle theme or explain what is known con- 
cerning autosuggestion or explain the laws 
which, in a measure, control the unconscious 
part of human life without using technical 
terms or scientific formulas beyond the 
understanding of the everyday reader. 
But, plainly stated, a human being uses but 
a small inclosure in which he can move on 
his own conscious volition. We are fear- 
fully and wonderfully made. "What I 
would not that I do and what I would that 
I do not" was not the exclusive experience 



SUBCONSCIOUS RELIGION 175 

of the Apostle Paul. But it is the com- 
mon experience of all mankind. A man's 
thoughts, happiness, and usefulness are the 
products of his moral character. His " sub- 
conscious self" is his real character. What 
one does consciously may not represent his 
real character, but that which he does 
without meditation or conscious limitation 
represents the true disposition or tendency 
of his real nature. Inasmuch as ye are dis- 
posed by nature or by second nature to be a 
good Samaritan or to aid "the least of 
these," ye have lived a continual good deed 
for the Master. The redeemed soul is one 
whose permanent disposition, called his 
"subconscious" or "subliminal self," is con- 
trolled by the magnetic influence of the 
spirit of truth and goodness. The few mat- 
ters on which the brain acts directly are the 
deeds of the conscious mind. They are 
controlled by the will and reasoning powers 
of the independent portion of man's being. 
They may or may not accord with the 
heart's general impulses or they may be the 



176 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

direct product of the heart's purposes. The 
will and the subconscious self interact, each 
influencing the other. This thought pre- 
sents "a logical contradiction" which has 
puzzled many great minds. 

But our appeal here is to the everyday 
experience of sincere, truthful Christians 
concerning their communication with God 
through the subconscious mind. One writer 
states that she has often received trust- 
worthy messages from the spirit world in 
dreams and in unusual impressions during 
waking hours. This statement often arouses 
the general prejudice which some of the 
extreme spiritualists or deceivers have 
brought upon the theory of mental com- 
munication with the departed; but it should 
be examined on its own merits without 
bias. The testimony of the millions who be- 
lieve or hope that they have had messages 
from their beloved who have gone on before 
counts for much and is not a testimony con- 
fined to professional mediums. The rejec- 
tion of the theory that it is possible for angel 



SUBCONSCIOUS RELIGION 177 

beings to communicate with mortals, and 
that they are sent of God to do so, involves 
the rejection of the whole Bible as a divinely 
truthful Book. If there is no open path 
through the subconscious self to the spirit 
world, then the recorded visits of the Holy 
Spirit to the hearts of men are only idle 
tales. The disbelief in the soul's ability to 
hear heavenly voices or receive spiritual 
suggestions from other spirits would destroy 
all trust in supernatural religions. God 
does speak to man in the events and laws 
of the material life, and he also speaks to us 
in the "quiet, small voice" as he did to 
Elijah at Sinai. There appears to be no 
alternative but to believe in that declara- 
tion, for to reject it is to reject the whole 
body of Christian teaching. We will not 
entertain such a suicidal proposition. The 
indestructible spirit body is the same being 
and possesses the same characteristics in the 
material body that it possesses when sep- 
arated from this limiting framework of the 
earthly body. It is indestructible, but it 



178 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

can be modified in disposition while in this 
body. That statement, for the sake of 
brevity, is mentioned dogmatically, but 
it will be illustrated by the following 
testimonials. 

One writer who evidently has been reared 
to believe sincerely in "emotional religion," 
who shouts and groans and wrings his hands 
at any devotional meeting, but whose 
probity and strong good sense are the ad- 
miration of his friends, states that he knows 
"that his Redeemer liveth, by the direct 
assurance of the Spirit." He claims that 
when a man tells him a lie he feels the 
presence of evil. He testifies that in his 
most exalted moments following a season 
of fervent prayer he knows what it is to 
realize the fact that he lives and moves and 
has his being in God. 

There are thousands of men and women 
whose wild behavior in religious meetings is 
only the natural evidence of a disordered 
mind. The negro camp meeting and the 
whirling of the Egyptian dervishes seem to 



SUBCONSCIOUS RELIGION 179 

be much alike in their manner of working 
up a religious excitement. The unbalanced 
mental condition of some truly honest 
worshipers causes distrust of others whose 
good sense in other matters is never 
questioned. 

Other writers tell of their experience of 
some overpowering emotion which came so 
logically in answer to their prayer that they 
cannot doubt that such was truly the fact. 
A man prayed that he might be protected 
through the night. He awakened from 
sleep, moved by an "inward impulse" irre- 
sistible, and went to the barn to find, as he 
opened the stable door, a little blaze creeping 
toward the haymow. It was easily ex- 
tinguished then, but ten minutes later 
would have been entirely beyond control. 
The fire was caused by a lighted cigar 
dropped carelessly on the stable floor near 
the horses. Another writes that he is 
naturally emotional and dares not trust him- 
self on any pinnacle, as he always feels when 
on any high place a strange desire to leap 



180 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

off in suicide. He states that the sensi- 
tiveness of his emotional nature becomes 
most acute in religious gatherings, and that 
he has never found himself mistaken when 
he has followed the leadings of that spirit. 
His wife writes that he had, for years, 
planted the crops which he "felt like plant- 
ing" after attending a religious meeting. 
She adds that while, at first, she had re- 
garded his "moods" as accidental emotions, 
she had learned that his crops planted in 
those moods were always profitable invest- 
ments. Another who had been trained in 
the Friends' meeting to wait for the Spirit 
to move him went so far as to wait for the 
same impulse in all his undertakings. He 
tried to lay his business ventures before the 
Lord in silent prayer and then go in the 
direction the Spirit indicated. He related 
how, when once he was lost in a thick forest 
on a cloudy day, he prayed until his "sense 
of direction" became so clear that he started 
with closed eyes to take the direction toward 
which his inward impression impelled him. 



SUBCONSCIOUS RELIGION 181 

Another acted always on the impulse of 
the moment in speaking to a friend or to a 
stranger upon religious matters. Another 
wrote that she had observed for many years 
that the praying housekeepers were guided 
in their work by the most trustworthy in- 
tuitions. Few is the number of women who 
guide their domestic affairs by the rules of 
cold science, and the larger part of a moth- 
er's movements in the care of her children 
are the unconscious results of special in- 
tuition. She claims that in the intuitional 
nature of the human soul there is such near- 
ness to the divine nature that the especially 
sensitive soul "feels impulses from across 
the border." 

Here, again, after a day's study of the 
many accounts concerning the impulses 
awakened by prayer, we lay down the corre- 
spondence with a sigh of regret that noth- 
ing absolutely conclusive for or against 
prayer is to be found. We must still be- 
lieve or disbelieve according to the meas- 
ure of faith. In the courts of law attorneys 



182 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

often establish their cases by the use of what 
is termed "cumulative evidence,' ' where they 
secure the testimony of many witnesses to 
the same fact. If that custom be applied 
to the establishment of the fact that emo- 
tions and impulses are sent in answer to 
prayer the number in its favor would be 
overwhelming. Down in the subcellar of 
the mind there may be a tunnel leading 
through to the palace of God. Millions 
believe that is a fact. No one can prove it 
is not so. Therefore, with the reasonable 
student, the testimony of the many will 
still be considered trustworthy. The soul 
of God speaketh often to the soul of man. 
A great writer on secular subjects confirmed 
the general impression when he forcibly 
wrote, "You can get almost anything you 
want, if you only want it hard enough, and 
long enough, and with faith enough." 



Graying for 
Visions of ^Heaven 



IV 



Chapter IV 
Praying for Visions of Heaven 

A STURDY young farmer's boy who 
had inherited a strong body, a clear 
mind, and a good family name sat under a 
maple tree in the hayfield at the hot noon- 
tide. He was eating a cold lunch and at the 
same time reading an article in the weekly 
paper. The editor had written an editorial 
on the romantic history of the poor country 
boys who had risen to world-wide fame and 
to enormous riches. When he had reread 
the article he tossed the paper aside, lay 
back on the odorous new-mown grass, 
looked up at the deep-blue sky, and watched 
the passing of a pure-white cloud. A 
vision of what the world might be to him 
came in a dreamy way. Other boys as 
poor as he had graduated from college, had 
made great scientific discoveries, had mar- 
ried rich and beautiful women, had traveled 
13 



184 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

in far countries, had feasted with kings, had 
held high office, and had written great books. 
Why could not he follow their example? 
It seemed impossible, and with a deep sigh 
he arose and seized his scythe. 

But the vision could not be obscured. 
As his strong muscles drove the sharp blade 
through the thick grass he kept muttering 
to himself, debating pro and con the pos- 
sibility of an ignorant farmer, living far 
away from city civilization, and too far 
from a railroad to hear the whistle, to be- 
come powerful in national affairs. How 
did they start? What did they do first? 
W T hen his return swath brought him again 
near the shade of the tree where he had 
eaten his lunch he caught up the weekly 
paper and read again the editorial. Then 
he left his scythe in the grass and went 
into the shade, leaned against the gnarled 
trunk of the old tree, and, wholly engrossed 
in earnest thought, forgot his work. He 
reviewed his own simple life and examined 
his own plans and ambitions. He had 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 185 

expected to marry some one of the strong, 
sensible, country girls and bring her home 
to live with the old folks, as his father had 
done. He had a dim idea that he would 
inherit the old, stony farm some day. He 
had a latent ambition to raise more corn 
than his father had raised and to clear a 
large piece of woodland which for centuries 
had hidden the mountain side. He would 
build an addition to the stable and put in a 
new pair of bars near the brook where the 
cattle went to drink in winter. He had 
also a half -formed purpose to join the local 
church, and perhaps some day he would 
be an elder. 

At last he aroused himself and, with a 
half-angry impulse, he began to strike the 
grass with his scythe as if the grass were 
some sneaking enemy. He could not arouse 
again the sweet content of the forenoon. 
He had caught a glimpse of that far-away 
land, and while he did not hope ever to 
enter it, yet the thought disturbed him. 

The next Sunday the echo of the old 

10—4 



186 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

church bell, along the narrow, but beautiful, 
Berkshire valleys, called him to church. 
The cows were milked and fed, the old horse 
curried, and the chores hastily finished when 
he ran down the road to overtake the old 
folks. But the grand forest, the sheening, 
cascading brook, and the brown fields were 
not the same to him that they were the day 
before. The cows and horses in the pastures 
near the road had lost their fascination and 
value. The hills seemed lower and the grain 
fields more narrow, the cottages seemed 
shrunken, and the old church was but an 
awkwardly built bungalow. All had changed. 
His clothing was coarser woven and the 
most attractive girls in their Sunday attire 
were rude specimens of country verdancy. 
As if by a preconceived purpose to 
accelerate his sweeping mental changes the 
preacher that morning took his text from 
the Proverbs of Solomon, wherein he 
stated that wisdom is more valuable than 
gold or rubies. The speaker illustrated his 
sermon by showing the value of an educa- 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 187 

tion. He mentioned the happiness of the 
men and women who knew the structure of 
vegetation, of animals, and the laws which 
control their life. He mentioned cases of 
self-made men who had read good books 
and whose minds could walk with God 
through his wonderful natural creations. 
He spoke of the uselessness or curse of 
possessions which the owner cannot enjoy 
for lack of knowledge. He said that the 
discipline of obtaining wisdom was in itself 
of great value and that God promised riches, 
and honor to the man who would earn them. 
He also said that the Lord started many of 
us into life with nothing for the loving pur- 
pose of developing our capacity and inclina- 
tion to know and enjoy more. The hap- 
piest boy is the one who makes his own 
toys. The application of the sermon brought 
forth the exhortation to read instructive 
books, to examine more closely the works of 
nature and the laws which control our 
being. "Learn something every day," said 
the preacher, and he closed with the quotation 



188 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

from Luther, "Not a day without learning 
another verse" ("Nulla dies sine versu"). 
The young farmer was an only son. But 
his parents had wisely kept him from selfish- 
ness and egotism. He had been taught to 
work and to be grateful for the necessities 
of life. He had a loyal disposition and 
loved his parents with a half-worshipful 
devotion. He had been contented, indus- 
trious, careful, and honest. His only pride 
seemed to be in the distance he could see and 
in the large burden he could shoulder or 
carry. He had left school because his 
father needed him on the farm and he had 
abandoned the expectation of further edu- 
cation. But on that Sunday he held a long 
conference with his mother and father con- 
cerning his ambition to be something more 
than a country farmer. He read to them 
the editorial which had so moved him, and 
tearfully said: "I want to be great like 
them! I must improve my mind. I must 
increase my skill. I must have more in- 
fluence and do more good. I must get more 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 189 

wisdom and more understanding. This 
farm is too small a place for me. I will stay 
at home if I can, or as long as I can, but I 
must begin to study to-morrow, and never 
thereafter lose a day. God helping me, I 
will be something worth while." His par- 
ents, with sad hearts, saw the reasonable- 
ness of his ambition and gave their consent 
to his proposed education. He began to 
read selected books at home, but he soon 
saw the great advantage of academic in- 
struction in some well-equipped institution. 
He attended a high school in a near-by vil- 
lage and an academy in another part of the 
country. He was the leader of his classes 
and a close student of languages and natural 
science. He had obtained a glimpse of the 
world of knowledge and was fascinated with 
the idea of a university education. Beyond 
the university, he occasionally saw himself a 
multimillionaire with a palace and a bril- 
liant retinue of servants. He had chosen 
for his life mate a brilliant young woman 
who was a teacher in a kindergarten school 



190 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

connected with the academy. They were 
to be married when he should graduate 
from the university. All seemed hopeful and 
promised a most noble and notable career. 

But while he was spending his vacation 
at the old home in the Hampshire Highlands 
of the Berkshire Hills, helping his old 
father in gathering the usual crops, he re- 
ceived an invitation from a rich uncle living 
near San Francisco, inviting him to visit 
his estate. The uncle had not often corre- 
sponded with the young man's parents and 
they had taken no interest in his history. 
They had heard that he was a wealthy 
manufacturer and a railroad director. So 
the brother, and the sister who was the 
student's mother, had lost all acquaintance 
with each other in the fifty years of their 
separation. The young man gladly ac- 
cepted his uncle's invitation to visit him, 
and the uncle sent on a railroad pass to bring 
him to California and return. 

The estate of the uncle was on the shore 
of the Pacific, occupying a gentle slope 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 191 

with wide lawns, evergreen trees fancifully 
trimmed, and gushing fountains. Hedges 
of lilies, acres of poppies, roses of every 
perennial variety, and shade trees in long 
rows, decorated the great plateau. Orchards 
of luscious and rare fruits stretched away in 
great lanes from the back gardens. The 
house was a mansion built for show, with a 
front largely Grecian in design, and a rear 
porch and veranda of the Old Colony style. 
Carpets, paintings, mirrors, and a hundred 
curious and costly decorations made an 
exhibition of lavish wealth. Fine horses 
and extravagantly furnished carriages in 
great variety filled the stables. Servants' 
quarters were really fine cottages and the 
gatekeeper's lodge cost an extravagant sum. 
To this New England nephew who had 
spent his youth in the simplicity and pov- 
erty of a back-country farm, all this dis- 
play of wealth was bewildering. The great 
library of costly volumes, few of which had 
ever been opened, seemed to him a great 
opportunity for his uncle to learn almost 



192 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

everything. The food was so various and so 
delicious. The wines which he had never 
tasted were sweetly stimulating and had 
been made on the estate. His uncle enter- 
tained him royally and introduced him to a 
number of handsome young ladies of fas- 
cinating manners, who volunteered to teach 
him to dance. Every kind of musical inven- 
tion seemed to be stored in the mansion, and 
quartets from the university near by came in 
often to entertain and to be entertained at 
the uncle's evening socials. The uncle was a 
widower and childless, and seemed to be most 
pathetically lonely. He was pleased with his 
nephew and was proud of his apparently- 
sterling character and manly appearance. 

The evening before the nephew's depar- 
ture on his return journey his uncle talked 
with him until late in the night and told 
him frankly that he was going to make the 
young man his sole heir. But he made his 
nephew promise repeatedly not to tell any 
person, not even his parents, what the uncle 
had decided to do. 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 193 

The return of that young man, when 
viewed in the light of subsequent events, 
must have been a startling experience to his 
dear, patient, plodding old parents. His 
manners, his thoughts, his estimation of 
values had undergone a violent change. 
The old farmhouse seemed to him to be 
smaller than ever, the furniture was rude 
and cheap, the food was coarse and un- 
palatable, the horse was shamefully old, 
his father's overalls were disgracefully 
stained, and his mother's old apron was fit 
only for rags ! The home was lonesome and 
uncomfortable. He sat by the fire on the 
cool evenings, silently picturing in his wild 
imagination what he would do with his 
millions, and sometimes he admitted, for 
an instant, the hope that his uncle would 
die very soon. He abandoned the idea of 
going on with his college education. He 
reasoned that money can buy anything and 
assured himself that he could hire men to 
think for him if he should need them. 
Letters from his fiancee became a bore. 



191 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

She was too plain and too unsophisticated 
to adorn his future mansion. He could not 
think of marrying a woman of whom he 
would be ashamed in that fashionable group 
to which he would be attached. He finally 
broke the engagement, telling her that he 
had discovered that he did not love her 
enough sincerely to marry her. The lady 
became ill and was suddenly killed in an 
accident in the sanitarium. The young 
man would not work. He refused to help 
his father on the old place and bluntly re- 
fused to help his mother when she was about 
her household tusks alone. All was changed. 
He was no longer their son. The father felt 
the impression of mystery about the son's 
strange behavior and suggested to his wife 
that the boy showed symptoms of insanity. 
Not many months passed before the son 
left his home to take an easy position as a 
clerk in Boston. But he soon left that and 
went to sea in a steamer, where he acted as 
assistant to the steward. At Bordeaux, 
France, he made the acquaintance of two 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 195 

American young men whose wealthy par- 
ents supplied them with funds to travel, 
but evidently did so to keep the rascals 
away from home. Then his downward 
course became a reckless race. 

A few years later the uncle heard or read 
that his nephew was sentenced to three 
months in the workhouse for drunkenness, 
and he changed his will, leaving all his 
estate to benevolent institutions. From 
that time the unrepentant prodigal disap- 
peared from the knowledge or care of his 
old neighbors. Both his parents went down 
to the grave in bitter sorrow before his re- 
form. The death of the mother was only a 
few weeks later than the death of the father. 

God pity them both, God pity us all 

Who vainly the dreams of youth recall. 

Of all sad words of tongue or pen 

The saddest are these, "It might have been."' 

Ah, well for us all some sweet hope lies 

Deeply hidden from human eyes, 

And in the hereafter the angels may 

Roll the stone from the grave away. 



196 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

The friend who reads this account of that 
young man's broken life may ask what this 
biographical sketch has to do with the sub- 
ject of " unanswered prayer." It has much 
to do with it. Such experiences, which 
must have been seen in millions of cases, 
show a reasonable explanation why so many 
prayers for a view of heaven are denied. 
At almost every funeral the loved ones ask 
if the departed is still living and why God 
does not permit them to come back and tell 
us about their spirit life. "What are they 
doing in heaven?" is a question on the lips 
of millions. 

But in the letters herein mentioned the 
records of unanswered prayers included 
many who prayed for visions of heaven or 
who wished to see the angels or the face of 
the Saviour. One brother prayed continu- 
ally, "Oh, for one view of the holy city!" 
and another seemed never to leave out of 
his daily prayer, " Lord, open my eyes to see 
the faces of the dear ones hovering about 
me!" But our eyes are still holden. Our 



FOR VISIONS OF HEAVEN 197 

pleading hearts are unsatisfied. We are 
not permitted to see our future home nor 
catch more than a glimpse of the angels' 
wings. When, however, we seek an ex- 
planation of this divine arrangement, this 
separation of this life from the other, the 
faithful believer in God's wisdom and love 
can easily set up a reasonable theory con- 
cerning it. He will see that God has 
placed us on this earth to grow in knowl- 
edge, to get necessary spiritual discipline 
for his heavenly service. To obtain that 
training we must keep our attention on the 
duties of our daily tasks and do them well. 
We cannot reap rye with heaven in actual 
view. It is not consistent to think after the 
Apostle John saw the holy city at Patmos 
he could devote himself as readily to catch- 
ing fish. When that California uncle showed 
his nephew all that luxury, beauty, and 
wealth, and told him that he would some day 
own it all, it was a foolish act — almost 
criminal. The young man's mental and 
moral development was stopped then and 



198 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

there. The young man lost far more than 
the estate could be worth. Suddenly ac- 
quired riches are ever harmful. Dissat- 
isfaction with this life is a fatal sin. 
God commands us to be content and toil. 
He, therefore, does not himself do so 
destructive and discouraging an act as to 
show us heaven's glories and fill us with a 
suicidal anxiety to get out of this world at 
once and speedily to enter the other where 
there is no more pain or sorrow or dying. 
A prayer for a view of heaven seems, there- 
fore, to be an unreasonable request. This 
conclusion satisfies many who have been 
denied communication with the departed 
dear ones, and they take up their toil, con- 
tent to labor and to wait. God does not 
interfere with the healthful exercise of our 
free will by holding bribes before our eyes 
or by forcing our discipline by awful fears. 



Sreat Prayers 



Chapter V 
Great Prayers 

MEN talk and write of "great prayers" 
as though such petitions could be 
weighed or measured. They appear to 
think that sacred feelings can find a standard 
of comparison. But even the rightfully es- 
teemed Lord's Prayer presents no universal 
standard by which to measure our varying 
appeals. One old saint writes that he often 
gets out of patience when the Lord's 
Prayer is intoned or recited, as none of its 
paragraphs fitly or adequately expresses his 
"soul's sincere desire." 

Prayer is necessarily as varying in its 
moods and objects as a kaleidoscope. Jesus 
said, "after this manner pray ye." And 
we must pray "after this manner." But 
person, time, place, hearers, sharers, emo- 
tions, ideas, desires, and needs all enter into 

the conditions of earnest prayer. To call 
14 

10—5 



200 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

on God in your own way, with your own 
motives and your own emotions and your 
own language, or without words, will be a 
clear fulfillment of the command to pray. 
The Lord understands every language and 
knows all that the heart would express if it 
could find an adequate form of speech. 

The books, except the Bible, most fre- 
quently quoted in these letters include 
volumes by St. Augustine, Luther, Wesley, 
Whitfield, Spurgeon, Moody, Fosdick, Nic- 
oll, Campbell, Whittle, and Finney. In the 
quotations the idea is ever present that there 
are great prayers. That place is given most 
frequently to the printed petitions of 
Spurgeon. But it is misleading to attempt 
to place a valuation on any of them. The 
most effective prayer recorded was the 
appeal of the Publican as he smote his 
breast; and Christ's long prayer at the 
Last Supper was the most comprehensive. 
But in the following circumstances, having 
trustworthy witnesses, no two of the 
marvelously effective petitions were alike — 



GREAT PRAYERS 201 

viz.y the English boy's prayer for his blind 
sister's restoration to sight; Muller's prayer 
for a food supply for his orphanage; Doctor 
Cullis's appeal to God for his Consumptive 
Home; Doctor Kincaid's petition for pro- 
tection for the converts of Ava; the Brook- 
lyn child's prayer for her shipwrecked 
father; the groans of John Hall's praying, 
but starving, mother; the prayer of Presi- 
dent Garfield's mother at the washtub 
when her boy was lost in the forest; the 
silent wish of Carey, the pioneer missionary; 
John Daniel Loest's prayer for money to 
pay his mortgage the next day; Spurgeon's 
prayer for his pastors' college in dire need; 
Moody's prayer for the establishment of a 
Bible school in Northfield; Luther's prayer 
for Melancthon; Halderman's prayer, in the 
Fulton Street daily prayer meeting, for the 
lost ship Leviathan; the petition of the 
mother of Doctor Talmage, asking that her 
son be made to decide at that moment to 
come home; Miss Lyon's prayer in the field 
for a seminary for women; and the prayer 



202 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

of the Dock child of Stockton who claimed 
that God had told him "in his heart" that 
his sister would immediately recover. To 
these may be added an almost innumerable 
number of cases where the prayers brought 
direct results, although there was no at- 
tempt to use any special form of words. 

This principle or truth is probably ac- 
cepted by all thinking worshipers, including 
most extreme ritualists. As, however, true 
prayer requires a devotional state of mind 
there can be no denial of the statement that 
the forms, ceremonials, scenic effects, and 
processions of the different creeds and races 
have a most potent effect on the devotional 
natures of their supporters. Whatever 
awakens a spirit of devotion is more or less 
useful; but when a strong desire for com- 
munion with God has been aroused by 
music, exhortation, processions, or scenery 
the most effective method appears to be to 
then leave each soul alone with God in 
silent prayer. "Resting in Christ" has a 
meaning to the devout which no other can 



GREAT PRAYERS £03 

understand. Love only can understand 
love. To be "alone with the loved one" is 
ever a holy and soul-brightening experience. 
But to be "alone with God" is, by far, the 
most holy of all emotions. The testimony 
of nearly all those at the Baptist Temple 
who report an answer to prayer, mention the 
fact that their prayers seemed to be the 
most productive of results when offered in 
the silent moments at the close of some 
inspiring service. 

It is clearly impossible for one finite mind 
to shape a petition which will include and 
express all the desires of the multitude. 
Neither can an uninspired writer in one age 
fully appreciate and comprehend the con- 
ditions and needs of another age. Hence, 
while the petitions of friends, priests, or 
pastors have a strong influence with the 
Creator, the one vital necessity in making 
acceptable appeals to God is that each 
petitioner should ask for himself. No char- 
acter can be changed from the outside. No 
wicked heart can be made pure without its 



204 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

own consent, and the Lord seems to have 
limited himself so that he never crosses the 
threshold of the soul unless he is sincerely 
invited by that individual householder. God 
does not convert any soul by force. There- 
fore, all who would be blessed by him 
must voluntarily and individually go to 
him. There can be no substitute in that 
case. Even Christ, a mediator, may take 
on himself our punishment, but he cannot 
do our praying for us. He makes interces- 
sion for us, but that is of no use without 
our co-operation. 



<lLse of the ffiible 
in Grayer 



VI 



Chapter VI 
Use of the Bible in Prayer 

IT will be useful to any seeker after God 
to examine the agencies which have 
helped those whose prayers have been con- 
spicuously answered. Among the many 
helps which, seemingly, have had especial 
potency in developing or awakening a devout 
spirit there is none so general in use as the 
Bible. The petitions which have been 
preserved from the ancient Fathers often 
quote the Scriptures; and when they do 
not quote directly, the language used shows 
a close familiarity with the Sacred Word. 
The Gospel truth is wonderfully condensed 
in this prayer of Thomas a Kempis: 

O, Most merciful Lord, grant me thy grace, 
that it may be with me, and labor within me, 
and persevere with me, even to the end. Grant 
that I may always desire and will that which is 
to thee most acceptable, and most dear. Let 



206 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

thy will be mine, and my will ever follow thine 
and agree perfectly with it. Grant to me, above 
all things that can be desired, to rest in thee, 
and thee to have my heart at peace. Thou art 
the true peace of the heart, thou its only rest; 
out of thee all things are hard and restless. 
In this very peace, that is, in thee the one 
Chiefest Eternal Good, I will sleep and rest. 

Amen. 

The following prayer by St. Augustine is a 
good example of the influence of the Bible 
on the trend of his thought: 

O, thou full of compassion, I commit and com- 
mend myself unto thee, in whom I am, and live, 
and know. Be thou the goal of my pilgrimage, 
and my rest by the way. Let my soul take 
refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly 
thoughts beneath the shadow of thy wings; let 
my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in 
thee, O God. Thou bounteous giver of all good 
gifts, give to him who is weary refreshing food; 
gather our distracted thoughts and powers into 
harmony again; and set the prisoner free. See, 
he stands at thy door and knocks; be it opened 
to him, that he may enter with a free step, and 
be quickened by thee. For thou art the well- 
spring of life, the light of eternal brightness, 
wherein the just live who love thee. Be it unto 
me according to thy word. Amen. 



USE OF THE BIBLE IN PRAYER 207 

When looking outside of the local list of 
petitioners to which this volume is so 
closely confined it can be seen clearly that 
those whose petitions were the most surely 
answered were familiar with the Bible. It is 
also interesting to notice the quotations 
which were used as mottoes or the favorite 
extracts from the Bible by the most saintly 
of the heroes, martyrs, and victors in the 
Christian Church. Out of many hundreds 
of Scripture quotations the following are 
selected with the hope that some one of 
them may be of especial helpfulness to 
some one who desires to pray successfully: 

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteous- 
ness; thou hast enlarged me when I was in dis- 
tress; have mercy upon me, and hear my 
prayer (Psalm iv:l). 

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O 
Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer 
unto thee, and will look up (Psalm v:3). 

The Lord hath heard my supplication; the 
Lord will receive my prayer (Psalm vi:9). 

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not 
thyself from my supplication (Psalm lv:l). 



208 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as in- 
cense; and the lifting up of my hands as the 
evening sacrifice (Psalm cxli:2). 

I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplica- 
tions, prayers, intercessions, and giving of 
thanks, be made for all men (Tim. ii:l). 

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, 
and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the 
face of the Lord is against them that do evil 
(I Peter iii:12). 

And it came to pass, as she continued praying 
before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth 
(I Sam. i:12). 

Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy 
servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my 
God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, 
which thy servant prayeth before thee to-day 
(I Kings viii:28). 

And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and 
confessing my sin and the sin of my people 
Israel, and presenting my supplication before 
the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my 
God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even 
the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision 
at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, 
touched me about the time of the evening 
oblation (Dan. ix:20-21). 



USE OF THE BIBLE IN PRAYER 209 

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye 
have ought against any; that your Father, also 
which is in heaven, may forgive you your 
trespasses (Mark xi:25). 

And the whole multitude of the people were 
praying without at the time of incense (Luke 
i:10). 

Now when all the people were baptized, it 
came to pass that Jesus also being baptized, 
and praying, the heaven opened (Luke iii:21). 

And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, 
his disciples were with him (Luke ix:18). 

I was in a city of Joppa praying: and in a 
trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descend, 
as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven 
by four corners; and it came even to me (Acts 
xii:5). 

I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with 
the understanding also; I will sing with the 
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding 
also (I Cor. xiv:15). 

Praying always with all prayer and supplica- 
tion in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with 
all perseverance and supplication (Eph. vi:18). 

Night and day praying exceedingly that we 
might see your face, and might perfect that 
which is lacking in your faith (I Thes. iii:10). 



210 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

And hearken thou to the supplication of thy 
servant, and of thy people Israel, when they 
shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in 
heaven thy dwelling place : and when thou near- 
est, forgive (I Kings viii:30). 

Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our 
God, and set a watch against them day and 
night, because of them (Neh. iv:9). 

Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he 
shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows 
(Job xxii:27). 

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and 
not despise their prayer (Psalm cii:17). 

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination 
to the Lord; but the prayer of the upright is his 
delight (Prov. xv:8). 

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek 
by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and 
sackcloth, and ashes . . . (Dan. ix:3). 

. . . and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer 
and fasting (Matt. xvii:21). 

But we will give ourselves continually to 
prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 

via). 



USE OF THE BIBLE IN PRAYER 211 

And on the Sabbath we went out of the city 
by a river side, where prayer was wont to be 
made; and we sat down, and spake unto the 
women which resorted thither (Acts xvi:13). 

Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by 
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let 
your requests be made known unto God. 

And the peace of God, which passeth all 
understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds 
through Christ Jesus (Phil. iv:6-7). 

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and 
the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have 
committed sins, they shall be forgiven him 
(James v:15). 

Confess your faults one to another, and pray 
one for another, that ye may be healed. The 
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man 
availeth much (James v:16). 

... be ye therefore sober, and watch unto 
prayer (I Peter iv:7). 

Then what prayer or what supplication soever 
shall be made of any man, or of all thy people 
Israel, when every one shall know his own sore 
and his own grief, and shall spread forth his 
hands in this house; 



212 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling 
place, and forgive, and render unto every man 
according unto all his ways, whose heart thou 
knowest (for thou only knowest the hearts of the 
children of men . . . ) (II Chron. vi:29-30). 

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and 
sang praises unto God; and the prisoners heard 
them (Acts xvi:25). 

And when he had sent the multitude away, 
he went up into a mountain apart to pray 

(Matt, xiv-23). 

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place 
called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, 

Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder (Matt. 

Watch and pray, thai ye enter not into tempta- 
tion: the spirit indeed is willing, but the 11' 
i> (Teak Matt. \\vi:H). 

Thinkesl thou that I cannot now pray to my 
Father, and he shall presently give me more than 

twelve leiuuii> of an_" U 'Matt. \\vi:."i:jj. 

Therefore I say unto you, what things soever 
ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive 
them, and ye shall have them (Mark si £4). 

And he spake ■ parable unto them to this end, 
that men ought always to pray, and not to 
faint (Luke xviii :1). 



USE OF THE BIBLE IN PRAYER 213 

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but 
for them which thou hast given me; for they are 
thine. 

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out. 
of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them 
from the evil. 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them 
also which shall believe on me through their 
word . . . (St. John xvii:9, 1,5, 20). 

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; 

for we know not what we should pray for as we 
ought; but the Spirit itself inaketh intercession 
for us with groanings which cannot be uttered 
(Rom. viii&o 1 ). 

Pray without ceasing il Thess. v:17). 

And the very God of peace sanctify you 

wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and 
soul and body be preserved blameless unto the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ I is. V&3). 

Wherefore 1 also we pray always for yon, that 
our God would count you worthy of this calling, 
and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodn< 
and the work of faith with power (II Thess. i:ll). 

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; 
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 
10—6 



£14 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

May be able to comprehend with all saints 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and 
height . . . (Eph. iii:17-18). 

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, 
because we keep his commandments, and do 
those things which are pleasing in his sight 
(I John iii:22). 

And this is the confidence that we have in him, 
that, if we ask any thing according to his will, 
he heareth us; 

And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever 
we ask, we know that we have the petitions that 
we desired of him (II John v.14-15). 

But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou 
wilt ask of God, God will give it thee (St. John 
xi:-22). 

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that 
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the 
Son (St. John xiv:13). 

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will 
do it (St. John xiv:14). 

If ye love me, keep my commandments 
(St. John xiv:15). 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, 
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth 
not; and it shall be given him. 



USE OF THE BIBLE IN PRAYER 215 

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering 
••James i:5-6). 

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask 
amiss . . . (James iv:3). 

There hath no temptation taken you but such 
is common to man: but God is faithful who will 
not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are 
able; but will with the temptation also make a 
way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it 
(I Cor. x:13> 

Now unto him that is able to keep you from 
falling, and to present you faultless before the 
presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 
i:24). 

But when ye pray, use not vain repetition, as 
the heathen do: for they think that they shall 
be heard for their much speaking. 

Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your 
Father knoweth what things ye have need of, 
before ye ask him. 

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our 
Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy 
name. 

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on 
earth, as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 



216 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 
debtors. 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver 
us from evil; For thine is the kingdom, and the 
power, and the glory, for ever, Amen (Matt. 
vi:7-13). 

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou 
dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed 
(Psalm xxxvii:3). 

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also 
in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 
xxxvii:o). 

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for 
him . . . (Psalm xxxvii:7). 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want 
(Psalm xxiii :1). 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the 
shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou 
art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort 
me (Psalin xxiii :4). 



Conclusions 



VII 



Chapter VII 
Conclusions 

AS one lays aside the last letter of this 
JljL collection and leans back in his chair 
for meditation on all these heart revela- 
tions he asks, most anxiously, What is the 
conclusion of the whole matter? 

Thanks be unto God who giveth us the 
victory, our faith remains unmoved. A 
general view of the field of prayer shows 
that the great fundamental facts remain 
undisturbed. God is. God answers prayer. 
The Bible is the inspired work of the Spirit 
of God. Jesus is the Son of God. The 
Christ is the Saviour of a sinful world. "I 
know that my Redeemer liveth!" Enter- 
ing upon this investigation with a firm de- 
termination to hold an unbiased mind and 
trying to examine the evidence as an im- 
partial judge there were moments of doubt 
as to the wisdom of setting one's mind so 



218 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

free. It seemed sometimes as if it was 
wrong, even for a day, to stand outside of 
the circle of earnest believers and be a 
neutral critic of sacred things. But the 
risk was taken. A tremor came with the 
suggestion that the lovely structure of our 
lifelong faith might be shattered, and only 
dust be left of the religious building which 
we had so fondly believed was a building 
that had indestructible foundations, "Eter- 
nal in the heavens." 

But not one pillar has moved, not a rent 
or seam in any of the old walls has appeared. 
The fear that faith might be lost has in- 
creased our estimate of its everlasting value. 
The faith of our fathers stands secure. The 
testimony of unbalanced minds to the 
Sonship of Christ did not defeat the Saviour 
in his day, and they cannot do so now. 
The mistakes, errors, and superstitions of 
the extremists and deceivers have not made 
more than a ripple in the current of Chris- 
tian faith. The tide comes back. The 
V)ve for the Holy Bible revives. The 



CONCLUSIONS 219 

prodigal will come to himself and come 
back. The spirit of the Christian religion 
is a necessity to human progress and human 
happiness. The world needs it. It may 
come slowly, but, nevertheless, it will come 
surely. The spirit will awaken. The win- 
ter cannot last forever. Prayer is as 
necessary to the spirit of man as breath is 
to his body. The soul's sincere desire will 
ever seek expression. The seeker after God 
will surely find him when he shall truly seek 
him with all his heart. Hundreds testified 
to the facts that their prayers were answered 
where only a score or less asserted that they 
did not know whether their requests were 
heard or not. The millions who never tried 
to pray cannot be accepted as witnesses on 
either side. But the great majority of those 
who have tried the matter testify to its 
effectiveness. 

The doubters, who quibble and stumble 
over the parables and miracles, find that 
whether the believer accepted them as 
literal history or as spiritual illustrations, 



220 EFFECTIVE PRAYER 

they all teach the truth; and to believe in 
them can do no harm. The consensus of 
religious opinion among the common people 
is decidedly in favor of trusting more and, 
consequently, doubting less. "We will be 
no more children, tossed to and fro and 
carried about with every wind of doctrine 
by the slight of men and cunning craftiness.' ' 
We have put away childish things and here 
we stand, men and women, saved by grace, 
and " Who can separate us from the love of 
Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or 
peril, or sword? I am persuaded that 
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor powers, nor things pres- 
ent, not things to come, not height, not 
depth, nor any other creature shall be able 
to separate us from the love of God which 
is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Right is Right, since God is God, 
And right the day will win; 

To doubt would be disloyalty, 
To falter would be sin. 



CONCLUSIONS 221 

Ye saints, with your faith of steel, pray on. 
Ye faltering sinners, smite your breast and 
pray on. Ye doubtful critics, pray on. 
Ye sorrow-stricken ones, pray on. In due 
time every petitioner shall reap if he or she 
faints not. 

Oh, the rest, the peace, the joy of this 
settled conviction, that the faith in the 
Messiahship of Jesus Christ need be no 
more disturbed! "Now unto him that is 
able to keep you from falling and to present 
you faultless before the presence of his 
glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise 
God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, 
dominion and power, both now and forever. 
Amen." 



THE END 








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